Generali and Poste Vita ink €500m of deals in Rome and Berlin

Generali Real Estate, the property arm of the Italian insurance giant, has executed €500 mln of deals in Rome and Berlin as part of its joint venture with life assurance fund Poste Vita.

The partnership has acquired a controlling stake - 66% - in Rome's major out of town shopping and leisure venue Parco Leonardo, for a reported €300 mln.

The mixed-use complex, situated near Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport, represents a total value of €3 bn, according to the scheme's developer Leonardo Caltagirone, who retains the remaining 34% stake in the project.

Caltagirone launched the project in 1989, laying the first stone of the shopping centre in 2001. A high-rise residential development with ground-level retail surrounds the mall. The development is served by the city's penultimate train stop before the airport.

Unicredit and Natixis are understood to be providing 50% of debt financing for the Generali and Poste Vita acquisition.

In partnership with Caltagirone, the joint venture aims to execute a three to five year refurbishment plan to overhaul the shopping centre and its 182 stores, which cover an area of more than 62,000 m2 across a park of 160 ha. The transformation will include additional food and entertainment options, to improve the current footfall of 7 million annual visitors.

Synergies will also be sought with the adjacent Da Vinci retail park, which was acquired by a joint venture between M&G Real Estate and Qatar's GWM Capital Partners in 2016 for €208 mln, a record deal in Europe at the time for M&G.

According to sources, Caltagirone hopes to turn Parco Leonardo into a second CityLife, Milan's successfully revitalised inner-city neighbourhood.

In parallel with the Rome deal, Generali and Poste Vita said it had also acquired a mixed-use project in Berlin, the Westlight, which comprises office and retail space. Media reports place the deal volume at €200 mln. Barings Real Estate is the vendor of the new build asset, comprising 19,500m2, which is due for completion at the end of the year. 

The Berlin deal complements the joint venture's maiden acquisition in Frankfurt earlier this year, the Marienforum project.

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